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Microsoft's 'Windows 8' Unveiled; A Whole New Windows World

win8_logo_2011.jpgMicrosoft (news, site) has shown off its tablet-driving next-generation OS at D9 and across the world at Computex Taiwan. We take a look at what the new OS offers.

No Official Title To See Here

As rumored last week, Windows 8 has been unveiled to the world at the D9 summit and Computex in Taiwan. Aside from the pretty pictures, the first thing you'll notice in all Microsoft's information is that Windows 8 is in quote marks and is probably not going to be in the final name for the operating system in the wild. Think about it: Tthere is no logical reason for the name to be used on any tablet, where it will be a first OS.

Windows Phone 7, (which is getting its own update soon, but will probably unify with Windows proper at some point), while well received, isn't selling well because potential buyers appear to be confused over the Windows association and, well, Windows isn't the primary interface any more.

On with the Show

Beyond that, what we've seen in the video is a Windows Phone 7-style front end with tiles showing all the must-see information and leading you on to your files or applications. The first thing you should notice is the instant response for everything — there is no more waiting for stuff to load; everything just happens. And, it will run on any system from desktops to laptops and tablets.

 

Over in Taiwan

There are lots of ARM-powered tablet and notebook devices running in a variety of swanky prototype and development casings, all showing off "Windows 8." The interface runs well regardless of what the user works with for input, from keyboard, to mouse to touchscreen — and this looks like it could be a big seller for Windows 8 notebooks; touchscreens are now a viable interface, which will spur the hardware market on. 

 

The next thing you'll notice is the lack of screen clutter — everything in the control space has moved to the edges and can be dragged in and out when needed, so Windows has moved to emulate what we see in phones and tablets, which is no bad thing.

win8_start_web.jpg
Windows 8 adds tiles to the aging OS.

With more information available to the future Windows user in an easy-to-access manner, it could also see a shift from people using their mobile to stay updated, going back to desktops, laptops and, increasingly, Windows-powered tablets.

Quite what the enterprise 2.0-types will make of this update is anyone's guess, but there is value in having relevant information being accessible, and corporates could probably bend the tiles into an enterprise-friendly format.

With a launch still some way off in 2012, there is plenty of time for Microsoft to add more features and improve on the core (old) Windows look and functions, but this is certainly an impressive start, although one that probably won't threaten Apple (launching its own OS update next week), but perhaps Google (whose Chromebooks now look rather uninspiring) will be looking over its shoulders.

 
 
 
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